Stevie Nicks Was Once the Cover Star of a Self-Defense Book

For decades, Stevie Nicks has put her singing and dancing skills on display while performing with Fleetwood Mac and on her solo tours. Somewhat surprisingly, she also showed off a talent for martial arts on the cover of a self-defense book. Here’s how Nicks and her impressive high kick made their way onto the pages of this 1983 book. 

A black and white photo of Stevie Nicks holding a microphone.
Stevie Nicks | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Stevie Nicks has many talents outside her singing career

Though Nicks’ primary focus is always her music, she takes time to hone other skills. After her close friend Robin Snyder Anderson died of leukemia, Nicks picked up a talent for painting that she believes is a parting gift from Anderson. She paints dream-like paintings that have helped her through feeling “alone and lost in a lot of ways,” per Rolling Stone

Nicks has also focused her aptitude for writing on developing a TV series based on her song “Rhiannon.” The fantasy show would center around the Welsh mythology behind the titular character. In an ideal world, she wants Harry Styles to take the lead role.

Though Nicks has not taken classes for her ballet skills in years, she does use them every time she performs on stage. She believes that the grace she picked up in her childhood ballet classes has been essential to her success as a performer.

“I do it onstage. It’s like, it’s magic. And I learned that all in ballet,” she told NPR. “I don’t dance around that much onstage. I just do a little bit of kind of ballet, you know.”

She appeared on the cover of a martial arts book

Some of the grace, strength, and flexibility she developed through ballet helped with another venture: martial arts. In 1983, Nicks appeared in a series of images, including one on the cover, of a self-defense book called Hands Off!: A Unique New System of Self Defence Against Assault for the Women of Today. The author, Bob Jones, had worked security for a number of musical artists, including Fleetwood Mac. 

With Hands Off!, Jones aimed to teach fundamental methods of self-defense. To help readers visualize the moves, he employed Nicks in the photographs. According to the book, Nicks’ interest in Jones’ self-defense methods “besides self-defense, was to include them in future stage presentations.”

“This lady was a professional: in two hours I had a hundred of the most magnificent photos ever offered to the martial arts, and just one would make the cover,” Jones said of Nicks, per Far Out Magazine. “On this day of the shoot, I was standing in my martial arts training uniform, wearing my Black Belt. Then Stevie appeared, her hair done to resemble the mane of a lion. She was psyched up for some serious photographing.”

The now out of print book also featured photographs of ABBA’s Frida Lyngstad.

Stevie Nicks wasn’t afraid to utilize her high kick against unruly fans

Though Nicks did not have to employ Jones’ self-defense methods against fans, she shared that she has come close several times. Her heavy platform boots helped ramp up the intimidation factor.

“If you put on a pair of really strong suede boots to your knee, that have got a substantial little platform and a really good heel, then if somebody tries to drag you off that stage, you can seriously kick them with that boot,” she told Variety, adding, “A few times I’ve said, ‘Let go of my hand,’ and some people don’t. And my foot starts to raise, and they get it, like, ‘I don’t want to be kicked with that boot. So I better back off.’ So they have their moments where I feel like they’re a weapon.”

Given the impressive kicks on display in Jones’ book, it’s lucky for her fans that she never had to put her platform boots to work.

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